Well my five year old is now a six year old. His birthday was yesterday and we’ve been celebrating for the last 48 hours. It’s wonderful to be with him again. I gave him a miniature snow globe of NYC before I left for the East Coast for the second time. I told him that if he found himself missing me he should hold onto it and know that I was in the city he held in the palm of his hand. My mother tells me he kept the snow globe with him at all times; in the house, the yard, the movie theater…everywhere. But when I came back he intentionally broke it. He said he wouldn’t need it anymore since we were NEVER going to be apart for that long again.
Fortunately I was able to buy my way out of my parental guilt by treating him to dinner at his favorite restaurant (Burger King) and then I whisked him off to Baskin Robbins for a scoop of Red Raspberry Sherbet. Little side note about Burger King—they’re giving away Star Wars paraphernalia and my son scored a Princess Leah doll in his kid’s meal. Here’s the thing: The Princess Leah doll is really one of those little viewmaster thingies. But the place where you put your eye is well…underneath her and to change the image you have to gently roll this dial on her back. So basically if you stroke Princess Leah just right while looking up her skirt she’ll reveal a secret galaxy. Am I the only one who finds this a tad bizarre?
Okay now for more tour details. My first television spot in Philadelphia was on WCAU-TV News Channel 10. I was interviewed by the newscaster/host Lauren Hart. She is an incredibly nice woman and extremely easy to talk to. I must admit that I enjoy being interviewed. It's not just that I like to talk about myself (although that's always fun) but I'm also interested in what it is about me or my book that has peaked an interviewer's curiosity. You can tell a lot about a person by the kind of questions they ask. In this case Lauren asked me about Sophie being biracial and the whole story of how I went from being a struggling single mom dealing with a divorce to a successful author being interviewed on television. Once I was off air I hung out with some of the guys on the production team and while we were chatting the door opened and a vaguely familiar and very attractive man walked in. In fact he was too attractive to be one of us regular people so I quickly surmised that he must be a Hollywood actor. Two minutes later he was sitting in the chair I had been interviewed in just moments before. The commercial break ended and Lauren smiled at the cameras and said, “We’re here with Skeet Ulrich to talk about his new television role as…”
I’ll admit that I tuned out at that point. Not because I don’t care about dear old Skeet’s new role but because I was a little taken aback by the realization that I had been interviewed on the same show that was now interviewing a Hollywood heartthrob. I know he doesn’t have the fame of Brad Pitt or anything but he’s kind of a big deal and I’m…well…I’m just me.
Anyway from there I went to my interview at channel 6 for a show called Visions. The channel 6 offices are about 15 minutes out of Philadelphia so I was grateful when one of the crew members from channel 10 offered to give me a ride. Producer Warren Trent interviewed me. There’s really no way not to like Warren. He has this low key demeanor and quiet sense of humor that just immediately puts you at ease. Plus he’s an intelligent and insightful interviewer. After we were done he offered to give me a ride back into town and he used the time we spent driving to tell me about all the things I should do (and eat) while in Philly. Unfortunately I was insanely busy during the time I was there and the only tourist attraction I had a chance to see was the Liberty Bell. However I was able to find the time to gain a few pounds.
When I got back to Philly I contemplated how I was going to spend the rest of my evening. I was jet-lagged, on my own and I had an early morning interview scheduled for the next day. I was considering going to a movie when I discovered that my hotel (the DoubleTree ) was hosting a “manager’s reception” for their guests in one of their conference rooms. This seemed like the ideal solution to my what-should-I-do-with-myself-now-dilemma. The Philadelphia DoubleTree is basically a business traveler’s hotel and most of the people who attended the party were people who stay there frequently for work related purposes. Many of them knew each other and all of them were welcoming and talkative. Dawn Cook, the hotel’s business travel sales manager, is one of the kindest and most hospitable people I’ve ever met. I could have hung out talking with her for hours. She even offered to put up a poster advertising my impending signing in the lobby. Over the last few weeks I’ve stayed at the W in New York’s Union Square, The Marriott Marquis in New York’s Times Square and the DoubleTree in Philly. Although Red Dress Ink bore the expense I’ve been told that the Marquis normally rents their rooms for $400 a night. And yet I have never felt as at home and comfortable in a hotel as I did at the DoubleTree in Philly. They even give their guests warm chocolate chip cookies when they check in. Nobody at the W gave me a cookie.
Anyway I’ll tell you more about my trip in my next blog entry. You know when I started blogging I was worried that I wouldn’t have enough to write about. Now I feel like I have so much to share that I could blog all day and night and still be forced to leave stuff out.
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